Northwest killer denied death sentence appeal

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COEUR D'ALENE, ID - OCTOBER 16: Joseph Edward Duncan III (R), listens to his Public Defender John Adams (L), during a plea agreement and sentencing hearing in the court room of the Kootenai County Jail October 16, 2006 in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. Duncan plead guilty to the murder and kidnapping of Mark McKenzie, Brenda Groene, and Slade Groene at their home near Coeur d' Alane in May 2005. Duncan was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, without parole, on the kidnapping charges and still faces the death penality pending charges of murder and kidnapping in a federal case that involves Dylan and Shasta Groene. (Photo by Kathy Plonka-Pool/Getty Images)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has denied hearing an appeal of a man who was sentenced to death for kidnapping, torturing and killing a young northern Idaho boy after killing several of members of his family.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson announced Wednesday that the high court had made their decision earlier this week.

Joseph Edward Duncan III faces the death penalty for the 2005 murder of 9-year-old Dylan Groene. He also faces several life sentences for the murder of three family members and the kidnapping of his then-8-year-old sister.

At the time, Duncan represented himself at his sentencing hearing but later waived his right to appeal. He has since changed his mind and his defense attorneys say he wasn’t mentally competent to waive his rights.

The high court’s decision affirms U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge’s 2013 finding that Duncan was competent to waive his appeal.

No execution date has been set, and Duncan’s attorneys may still seek other post-conviction relief.

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